· Leadership Development

‘Do you love me more than these?’


By Bishop James Swanson


This is probably one of the most piercing questions Jesus ever asked of Peter.

“Do you love me more than these?”


It has always amazed me that Jesus and Peter did not engage in a sidebar conversation around definitions. We would not be comfortable with this question. We would want Jesus to more clearly define what he meant by “more than these”.


I’m guessing that Peter was thinking

  • “I’m a Jew, Jesus.”
  • “I shouldn’t hang out with Gentiles.”
  • “I can’t eat their food.”

Jesus knows what Peter is thinking, he responds, “I hear you. Peter. but do you love me more than these?”

It is a question Jesus also asks of all who follow Him, and especially those who have been set aside for special service for Him.


The latter category not only includes licensed and ordained clergy but also laity who serve in leadership roles in local congregations and other places,


“Do you love me more than these?”


Could it be that at the core of the lack of vital, vibrant and thriving men’s ministry is a failure to take this question seriously? You see the question is not about your love for the local church you attend, the local United Methodist Men unit of which you are a part, the district or conference office you hold or even the jurisdictional or general church office to which you have been elected.


The key to effective and fruitful men’s ministry is to answer the question: “Do you love Jesus more than these?”


Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr. president

General Commission on UM Men



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